Cotton Candy Costume Tutorial

When I was asking Hero what he wanted to be for Halloween, I also asked him what Pretty should be. He said, "Pink." I tried to get more out of him. . .

"A pink what?" I asked. 

But all he would say was, "Pink," and then get distracted.

So I called my sister and asked if she had any ideas and she did! Cotton Candy was Audrey's idea and I loved it! As soon as she said it, the image popped into my head of exactly how I was going to do it. I was so excited!!

Let's get started.

  • Old white t-shirt (I used a men's medium)
  • 3/4 yd. of thin vinyl (find it on the big rolls) 
  • Pink Rit Dye (or spray paint)
  • Stuffing
  • Red fabric cut to 3" x 36"
  • Spray adhesive
*I suggest scrolling down to the part about dying the stuffing and doing that first!*

I measured Pretty around her waist (while she was sitting, because it's bigger then) and her length from shoulder to knee.

Length shoulder to knee: 16"
Waist around: 18"

With these measurements I decided the t-shirt should be cut into 2 panels:  17" long and 14" wide.

Start by laying the t-shirt flat, then folding it in half down the center. Cut 17" long, and 7" wide (because it is folded). To cut shape the arm opening, measure and mark 4" down and 2" over from the raw edge corner and cut a curved line from one mark to the other.

The vinyl layer should be into cut 2 panels that are 19" long and 18" wide. Again, fold in half and measure only 9" wide. Shape the arm opening the same as the t-shirt.

With right sides together, sew the t-shirt side seams with a 1/2" seam. Then sew the vinyl side seams together. The shirt and vinyl should still be two separate pieces!

Sew a gather stitch along the bottom edge of the vinyl layer.

Place the vinyl inside the t-shirt and match the bottom edges, gathering the vinyl as needed, with the WRONG SIDE of the t-shirt and the RIGHT SIDE of the plastic facing each other. Trust me. Sew with a 1/2" seam

I used my walking foot because the vinyl kept sticking to the pressure foot. However, I bet if you flipped it and sewed with the vinyl side down it would work better. Just lift it so it doesn't stick to the machine.

Flip the t-shirt layer inside the vinyl layer. You should now be looking at both right sides, with the bottom seam tucked inside.

Run a gather stitch across the top of the vinyl on both front and back, pull to match the t-shirt, tie ends to secure.

Finish the arm openings by basting the two layers together with edge on the edge of the pressure foot.

Then fold over both layers toward the t-shirt side at the baste line and sew in place.

This is where I figured out how much batting I needed. I stuffed until it was level with the bottom of the arm openings. Make sure not to over do it. Remember than your baby has to fit inside! It ended up being one plastic shopping bag stuffed full.

Next step is to dye the stuffing. This can be done in advance, so as to not throw off your sewing groove!

I followed the directions on the box to prepare the dye bath, then submerged the stuffing. The box says to "stir constantly for 30 min". But I much prefer the method I learned here from Dana. Basically, just stop in every once and a while to stir it. I started at 11pm before knowing that it's better to leave it for many hours.

Over all, I left mine in for 10 hours! But mainly because I was sleeping and then taking care of my kids.

Also, when I pulled it out to look at it, it didn't look very pink. The dye was not taking!! So of course, I freaked out...

ran to the store, bought pink spray paint and did this to a second batch of stuffing, all at 5am... And it was too pink.

But when I later took the stuffing out of the dye bath to clean up, I realized that if I didn't rinse it, just ring it out, some color was still there. But it still didn't look very pink to me. I set it on some rags to dry for about an hour.

Then I put it in this drawstring bag and tossed in the dryer. It took a long time drying, and I had to mix the bag several times to make sure the inside stuff was getting dry too.

It wasn't until I had the dyed stuff in the costume that I saw it was perfect. So now I have a bag full of hot pink, spray painted stuffing... meh. Because I didn't rinse the dye from the batting, I don't plan to wash this costume in the washing machine. If needed I'll just have to spot clean it.

Story time over. Back to the sewing!

I left a small amount of batting out for the hair accessory.

Now that's it's stuffed, match up the top edge and baste together.

Fold over  1" toward the t-shirt. Pin and sew close to raw edge.

Make the tie. I chose red because that's the color I think of for a twist tie. Cut a strip 3" wide x 36" long. Fold in half and press.

Fold in half again and sew.

To make the tie show, use a seam ripper to cut an opening for the tie in the vinyl layer on both ends of both sides.

Use a safety pin to thread the tie through both front and back.

Try to make the tie ends as close to even as you can. Measure 2 1/2" space of the tie between the front and back for the first shoulder. Sew in place across the tie.

Gather both front and back to six inches of tie and sew down other end. Tie a bow with the loose ends.

The last step is to make the labels. These are what I created using Picnic.com. If you want to use them, just click on the image and save it full sized. *please, personal use only*


I chose to print mine 5x7 through Walmart.com, and I was upset with the front label came out black and with the top and bottom of the circle cut off. But not wanting to deal with customer services to get a refund of pennies, I just decided to make it work. *mini grr-face*

Trim the white from the outside of the image. Lay the image face down on some of the extra vinyl. Cut the vinyl about 1/2" bigger than the image. Use spray adhesive to attach to the costume. It doesn't matter which side is front or back, just decide which side you want the bow from the tie on.

And you're done!!

I'll show you how to make the hair thing next... I promise.

Just add the baby and BAM! Cutest Cotton Candy ever!!

This is a happy face, I swear.

Happy Halloween!!


Naomi said...

what a great idea! If I didn't already have a strawberry costume for my 10 month old I would soooooo make this! p.s. your little girlis super sweet too :)

Melissa said...

SOOOO CUTE! I am thinking of doing this for my 6 year old. How would I figure out how big to make it? I know I would measure her length and waist but I'm not sure how big I would cut it. It looks like you made yours a little bigger then her measurements. Thanks for the tutorial and thanks in advance for your help!

Christine {Pure Joy} said...

Just adorable! So clever and original.

Michele said...

You are so clever! And your baby is adorable! What a happy girl.

Lumiya said...


I'd love to be a bag of cotton candy too! I think I'd use one of those bed in a bag wrappers to make one for an adult!

Thanks for the ideas (my husband is going to hate this new craft project!)

Vivian said...

Melissa: for the t-shirt, I added 1" to the length (for the top casing) and took the 18" - 4" = 14" for the width of each piece (front and back). For the plastic, I added 2" to the t-shirt length to create room for the stuffing, and cut the width of each piece (front and back) the 18" I measured. I hope this helps!

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Oh my gosh that is beyond adorable. I love, love, love it! What a great idea. Thanks so much for this, I'll be linking.

Brandy said...

Found you on One Pretty Thing. I think this is so cute and I just love it. I have two girls and will have to use this some day.

Tay and Teigan said...

Oh I am so glad I found this blog! I am trying to do the same thing and two packets of Tulip hot pink dye later, it is still white! How did you end up getting it to work for you? Do you think if you would have used a deeper pink dye (like more of a hot pink) it would have been more vibrant?

Vivian said...

I used only one package of Petal Pink Rit dye. I left it in the dye bath for almost 10 hours. Because it is polyester, it's just not going to dye well. I finally ended up just ringing it out and drying it. NO RINSING. Rinsing would have taken out everything. I don't think it's possible to get a vibrant color with the 100% polyester filling and the dye. If you want a specific color, you might consider spray painting it.

Maria-Isabel @ Agape Love Designs said...

oh my goodness, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!!! Its soo cute, and so very clever!! :)

Tricia @ SweeterThanSweets said...

This is SO adorable! I just featured it on my blog's Cutest Handmade DIY Kids Halloween Costumes! Thanks for sharing!

Jaimee @ Havenwood House of Boys said...

Oh my goodness. She's so cute, I could eat her right up!? GREAT job on the costume!! I'm including this in a Handmade Halloween Costume round up post on my blog this week : )
Jaimee @ craft-interrupted.blogspot.com

The Youngs said...

Suck a cute idea! Found this on Pinterest and am featuring it on my blog: littledovecreations.blogspot.com

Unknown said...

Hello I was windering where you purchased the Vinyl...and also what type is it I see there is different types. Thank you!

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